One-Quote Review: Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry

  • Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah MayberryTitle: Her Best Worst Mistake
  • Author: Sarah Mayberry
  • Series: N/A (sequel to Hot Island Nights)
  • Genre(s): Contemporary
  • Publisher: Self-Published, May 2012
  • Source: Amazon, $2.99
  • Quick blurb: Smartass heroine and uptight hero – the perfect combination.
  • Grade: A

 “Shut up,” he said, and then he kissed her, because there was no other way of conveying how he felt.

Kids: “Mom, what’s for supper?” Me: ….. Kids: “MOM!” Me: [waves absently towards the kitchen]. Daughter: “She’s reading one of those books again.”

One-Quote Review: Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas

He did dirty, delicious things to her.

I never quite warmed to this heroine, and I’ve never really bought into “in disguise” plots, but I have a huge weakness for scientific heroes who know how to do dirty, delicious things.

One-Quote Review: Takoda by T. M. Hobbs

  • Takoda by T. M. HobbsTitle: Takoda
  • Author: T.M. Hobbs
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical, Short Story
  • Publisher: Books to Go Now, January 2012
  • Source: Amazon, 99¢
  • Quick blurb: Kidnapping by “savage Indian” = Twu Wuv
  • Grade: D

His words made me feel an unusual feeling inside of me.

Simplistic first-person narration, a bare minimum of dialogue and the absence of any dramatic tension – combined with a ridiculously naive “plot” – make this short story read like a middle school homework assignment. (Lovely cover, though)

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I tried this one because I was curious if the stereotypes from the blurb made it into the story:

Sara’s worst fears are realized, when she is taken captive by who she thinks is one of the same savage Indians who killed her parents. But her captor, Takoda, is different from those who robbed her of her mother and father.

The more time spent together, neither can deny their intense attraction. With every look, a passion burns between them, and soon she understands why Takoda took her from her home.

Will Sara let go of the hurt of the past and risk everything for her bronze skinned warrior?

The Cowboy’s Princess Wife by Mysty McPartland

  • The Cowboy's Princess Wife by Mysty McPartlandTitle: The Cowboy’s Princess Wife
  • Author: Mysty McPartland
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Historical
  • Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing, January 2012
  • Source: Amazon, $4.99
  • Trope(s): Virgins, Alpha Males, Cowboys, Mystery Marriage, I Hate You Except When We Kiss
  • Quick blurb: Scottish Princess shows up on doorstep of Cowboy Earl claiming proxy marriage.
  • Quick review: I can’t decide which was worse – the bad history or the bad editing.
  • Grade: F

In the interests of fairness, and to prove that I’m an Equal Opportunity Crank, I decided to try out another title from the publishing house that signed Sable “Hell Yeah!” Hunter.

I chose The Cowboy’s Princess Wife because of the bodice-ripping title, the author’s stripper-rific first name and the blurb:

Even though she made a promise to her dying grandfather, Carlin only intends to deliver the letter to the Earl and leave. When he refuses to let her go she takes time to contemplate the situation and being attracted to him decides to give their marriage a chance.  Her husband was so annoying at times she re-thinks her situation and once again makes plans to leave.

Surprised at finding two beautiful women in his parlor Haydon cannot deny the overwhelming attraction he feels towards one of them. He is shocked senseless when he finds out his father has married him to the woman he desires. Bound by duty and honor he can never let her go. However, it doesn’t take him long to become irritated with her and all the crap she fill his house with. What makes him furious though was all the deception.

Can Haydon keep his princess wife safe? Can their love for one another over come all the obstacles?

Verb tense disagreement, missing commas and a house full of crap in the blurb? Wheee, let’s get started!

But before we get carried away….

Let’s take a look at the dedication page:

Author Dedication page - The Cowboy's Princess Wife

Reason #1 Why Secret Cravings Publishing Is Collectively Smoking Crack

The opening scene….

With her heart beating wildly in her chest, her stomach twisted in a knot of nervous tension, Carlin thought she just might be sick.

Oooh, barfing in the first sentence! But if this is a historical, shouldn’t she be casting up her accounts?

Her eyes wide open, she kept sweeping the area with fearful apprehension. Dear Lord, what had her sweet grandfather forced her into she silently asked?

All righty. So that’s the way it’s going to be. Thanks for the early warning.

Lord, she didn’t want to do this, did not want to be here, well she couldn’t do anything about it now since she already arrived, she despondently told herself.

I’m silently telling myself despondently that I don’t really want to read this but I paid $5 for it because I’m trying to prove a point so I’m damn well going to finish it.

“Och, Carlin, it dinna look too bad.” Layla tried to reassure her cousin….

Fake Scottish brogue and historically improbable character names. The WTF list is growing and we’re only on the fourth paragraph.

She definitely could feel herself becoming annoyed.

Well, we wouldn’t want her to waffle about it, so it’s a good thing she’s definitely definite.

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One-Quote Review: Hard Tail by JL Merrow

  • Hard Tail by JL MerrowTitle: Hard Tail
  • Authors: JL Merrow
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, M/M
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, May2012
  • Purchase:Amazon, $4.24
  • Quick blurb: Unexpected stint managing a village bike shop changes the life of a London “posh tosser.”
  • Grade: A-

As we stood there staring into each other’s eyes, I had the strongest, almost painful urge to kiss him. He’d had me at buggery.

Good lord, I barely recover from the last one, and now another A grade? You real writers are ruining my bitch cred. RUINING.

Bitches.

One-Quote Review: Country Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

  • Country Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksander VoinovTitle: Country Mouse
  • Authors: Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, M/M
  • Publisher: Riptide Publishing, April 2012
  • Purchase: Amazon, $4.99
  • Quick blurb: Jaded Brit meets his match in seemingly naive American tourist.
  • Grade: A

“Look at me,” Owen whispered. “Look at me until you can’t anymore.”

Oh. My. God. You real writers are *killing* me. KILLING. ME. The smokin’ hot sex was more than enough, but the train station? Holy SHIT.

Lessons Learned from the Hell Yeah!/Dear Author Madness

Or, where do I go from here?

Jane at Dear Author is amazing. The Dear Author reader community seriously Kicks. Ass.

Little Tales of Misogyny by Patricia HighsmithI’m attempting to genuflect and suck up at the same time. Is it working?

I still can’t believe Jane published even one of the Hell Yeah! reviews, let alone all four. My stream-of-consciousness snarkfests weren’t (aren’t) even remotely close to the Dear Author brand she’s carefully built over many years, and I can only say that I’m honored to be even a teeny tiny part of her empire.

When I sent my guest review of Book 1: Cowboy Heat to Dear Author, it was purely in fun – the Simile Sex was just too hilarious not to share. I enjoyed writing that one so much I threw myself into the second book of the series. It wasn’t until I visited the author’s blog that I realized I had flung myself off the Cliffs of Romance Insanity. I couldn’t let it go. I just couldn’t.

And Jane let me drag the DA readers down with me. Unbelievable.

Thank you, Jane, for publishing my reviews and for your support of my rantings, and thanks a zillion times over to everyone who read the reviews and to those who took the time to comment (pro or con). Romancelandia ROCKS, and I don’t know what I ever did before I crossed the border into this weird and wonderful world.

[NOTE: My spellchecker suggested "necromancer" as a correction for "Romancelandia."]

For the record…..

Before I get to my Lessons Learned (see below – no new flowcharts this time, sorry), I need to state emphatically that I truly believe that ANY author who publishes ANY work of fiction is much, much braver than I am. It takes BALLS to write stories and let them loose in the world for readers like me to glom onto.

And despite my sometimes (oh, all right, often) rage-filled reviews, I include authors l didn’t connect with in my admiration. I love writing, but I know I could never muster the courage, commitment and skill to it takes to breathe life into characters, settings, plots and HEAs. Any writer who can arouse my interest and passion gets my applause.

Including – and especially – Sable Hunter.

She’s accomplished more as a writer than I ever have or ever will, and it’s obvious that she not only has found her niche with fans, but also listens and responds to them. She thanks every Goodreads user who posts a positive review, and beyond two “thumbs down” ratings on my vicious Amazon review of Book 3: Her Magic Touch, there has been NO backlash from her, her publisher or any of her fans. Zero.

All those reader-hating YA authors and their Flame War Fangirlz can take Classy Author Deportment Lessons from Sable Hunter.

That, of course, is making the huge assumption that she is aware of any of this.

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One-Quote Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

“I’m here to horrify you,” he said.

Oh, Hugo Marshall, you can horrify me ANYTIME. *~*swoon*~*. And the hairpins. MY GOD, the HAIRPINS. *~*swoon*~* >thud<.

Galley Proof by Eric Arvin

  • Galley Proof by Eric ArvinTitle: Galley Proof
  • Author: Eric Arvin
  • Series: N/A
  • Genre(s): Contemporary, M/M
  • Publisher: Dreamspinner Press, January 2012
  • Source: Digital ARC via NetGalley ($5.38 on Amazon)
  • Trope(s): Angst, Family Drama, Commitment Issues, Fictional Author
  • Quick blurb: Cranky reclusive writer gets the hots for his new editor and goes on Roman Holiday.
  • Quick review: Great premise, entertaining first half, cracked second half.
  • Grade: C-

I was hooked by the title, cover and blurb, and had it on my wish list for months, so when I saw it on my first cruise through NetGalley I kinda geeked out a little bit.

It’s nice that I can still be optimistic about a new book, but sometimes it can come back and bite me in the ass. (NO comments or editorializing, please. Thank you.) Galley Proof  has some really good writing, but it was overshadowed by numerous distractions that kicked me out of my reading trance again and again and again.

It’s two different stories: The angsty, romantic Budding Relationship in the first half and the campy, shallow Shame Spiral in Scenic Surroundings in the second half. And I didn’t like the hero in either environment.

The blurb:

Fiction writer Logan Brandish is perfectly happy in his peaceful small-town routine with his best friend, his cat, and his boyfriend—until he meets the editor of his next book, the handsome Brock Kimble, and the lazy quiet of everyday living goes flying out the window….

Our heroes are Logan and Brock. The frat-boy/soap opera names should have been a red flag.

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